Five Tips Friday: Reducing toy clutter

I've stopped apologizing about the explosion of toys in my living room. When I became a parent, I knew the day would come when my lovingly decorated house would look like a toy mine. I wouldn't have it any other way, but I do what I can to control the toy clutter in my home.

You really can't avoid toy clutter, but there are things you can do to make it more manageable. My advice is to focus on reducing the clutter rather than trying to eliminate it altogether. Because no matter how well you organise them, you'll find the toys have found their way all over the floor in a few days!

Five tips for reducing toy clutter

Here are my five tips for de-cluttering toys:

1. Set aside toys routinely

Have a box to give away (where your kids can't see it), and put away toys they don't play with, or don't seem to miss. Make it a habit to fill this box routinely, not just when there's a collection. Keep an eye out for things that could go in the box while you're picking them, instead of going through them later. You can keep the box for a month or so, to see if your kids ask for any of those toys.

2. Practise toy rotation

It requires a little work at first, but by creating different sets of toys to be rotated on a fixed basis, you can reduce clutter, and give your child 'new' things to play with more often. Just make sure you have a good variety of toys in each set. Playful Learning has a great tutorial on toy rotation.

3. Organise by size

I've realised that instead of organising toys (such as cars) by type, it's easier to do them by size. Put all the smaller toys together, and the big ones separately. They will require different types of storage anyway, and will be easier to retreive.

4. Get small containers

Big toy boxes don't work for me, except for the toys that have been temporarily put away. If kids have to dig too deep to find something, you are more likely to have an emptied toy box on the floor. Choose small or flat storage boxes instead, where they can instantly see what's in.

5. Be a smart buyer

When buying toys, try to look for ones that can serve more than one purpose. A toy train that can be used off the track, or toy set that comes in a container. Plus points if it can be used for learning purposes, such as coloured blocks in different shapes. I would also suggest looking for more gender neutral toys so that if you have more than one kid, they can share. There's nothing wrong with having pink or blue toys, of course, but toys that can be shared regardless of gender will reduce the need for separate ones.

Five Tips Friday is a series of posts on five quick tips 
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